Delia Agnes Killeen Murnane. Widowed at 30, after eight years of marriage and four children, she raised her kids very well by working 12-hour days. She taught them to care for each other. She was my Mom’s mom, the only grandparent I knew. When I was five, I met my Dad’s dad, Charles. It is a fleeting memory of a nice man who was in a wheelchair, and who died shortly after.
I’ve told the story before but I repeat it here because it is one of my favorite memories. The last conversation I had with Gram was on a visit home from studies. I told her I had missed her, and her response was, “Don’t waste your time missing people; pay attention to the ones around you.”
Later in the same conversation we were talking about a priest who used to visit her. He was from Ohio and had come to Florida to take care of his dad who had recently died. I asked her if Father John would be returning to Ohio and she said, “Don’t be in such a hurry to take the living from the dead.”
Those two lines – and the profound advice they offered, have stuck with me for nearly 50 years. I can only hope I inherited some of the Irish wisdom.
I checked and found that President Jimmy Carter officially proclaimed Grandparents Day as the first Sunday after Labor Day in 1976. If Maryellen Maher hadn’t reminded me, I might have missed it again. Traditions are not always easy things to establish.
What a treasure it is to have my memory of Gram. She lived with us for the last 20 years or so of her life after she retired from caring for elderly people at Farm Colony in Staten Island, NY. And that job was no picnic.
May all the good grandparent memories we have be what we celebrate today. And we give thanks for such wonderful people.
Today is the second Sunday in the Season of Creation. The Catholic Liturgical Guide which our bishops published notes that this Sundays’ theme is “Listen to the Voice of Creation.” I stole part of the introduction:
Most of us are not used to thinking of “progress” or “development” as undesirable or evil. But when those concepts lead us to think of nature as just a collection of resources for us to use to meet our needs or desires without regard for the lives of people or destruction of nature, they create the complex socio-ecological crisis in which we find ourselves and which Pope Francis condemns.
When they fuel large corporate mining, infrastructure construction, and agro-industrial mono-cultivation as they are now doing in the Amazon and other rain forests around the planet, they are too often destructive of the web of life and threaten its survival.
When they serve the dominant culture that values consumerism, money, and power above people, community, and life itself, Catholic Social Tradition identifies them as forms of idolatry. And when our actions increase the incentive for these operations, we participate.
Gulp. My first impulse is to make an act of contrition. But don’t forget that the act of contrition also says, “I firmly resolve with the help of they grace...”
Pope Francis calls us to look at how things interrelate in the ‘web of life.’ What are we resolved to do?
Finally, today is the 21st anniversary of 9/11. All you need to say is “nine-eleven” and everyone knows what you are talking about.
I guess the bad things have a way of staying in mind more easily than the good things. We pray we can be preserved from that can of evil and that our history is not written in the ink of soul-wrenching calamities that threaten hope. On the contrary, we live...